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State Honoree

Crystal Grant

Oklahoma

Crystal Grant, 17, of Sperry, Okla., a junior at Sperry High School, led a teen volunteer crew that helped create a community center to serve as a healthcare clinic, childcare facility and church for a disadvantaged community. Inspired by the continuing volunteer efforts of her mother after an accident left her in a wheelchair, Crystal looked for a community service project. “My mother instilled a spirit of community service in us as we were growing up,” Crystal said. “She showed me the importance of helping local organizations.” When Crystal learned about the needs of a poor, distant community in Oklahoma, she recruited friends to help, organized fund-raisers, asked local businesses and medical offices for donations, and shopped for supplies. Then they traveled to the site and began working on the building under extremely hot conditions. Working side by side with neighborhood adults who would be using the new facility, the teen volunteers did some of the manual labor on the renovation. In the evenings, they performed puppet shows for the local children and prepared a Christmas celebration complete with toys from Santa. “The teens who worked on this project sacrificed the easiness of their summer for something far more rewarding,” said Crystal. “This made a difference in people’s lives.”